tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV July 7, 2017 7:00am-7:31am PDT
peter: hello. a very warm welcome to "quadriga" where the focus is on the g-20 summit that germany is hosting this weekend in hamburg. it brings together the world's leading industrialized and emerging economies, but what can it achieve? well, even before the summit has begun, there have been protests. g-20 critics and there are plenty of them say it is just another talking shop. they say it has failed on issues like globabal inequalityty, cli change and bngnging sustaiained growthth to africa. but are they right? well, our question this week on "quadriga" is g-20 summit,
problem or solution? to discuss that question, i'm joined in this studio by mekonnen mesghena with the heinrich boll foundation here in berlin. mekonnen says trade, development, migration and refugees are all on the agenda in hamburg, but africa with its 1.2 billion people is almost absent. it verges he says on neo colonialism. also with us is irwin collier, economics professor at the john f. kennedy institute's berlin free university who argues it is better to have a regular forum like this for coordinating responses for shared problems than to wait until crisis build up and become manifest. and a warm welcome also goes to dagmar delmer, who writes on development and the environmental issues and africa with the berlin-based tagesspiegel. dagmar says the g-20 wants companies to invest more in africa, but private money cannot
solve the institutional problems so prevalent on the african continent. thank you, once again, all three of you for being here with me on "quadriga." i would like to begin with you, professor collier. and the prominence with sociologist. fiery egler gave a interview this week in germany and he said talking to have g-20, scrap it. get rid of it for good. it is totally ill legitimate and illegal. from your quote at the top of the show, i guess you don't entirely agree with them. irwin: if we didn't have a g-20, we would be inventing something looking like g-25 or g 15 for precisely the same things. crisis occur. they seem to be occurring with astonishing regularity. i will stand by my statement. you need to get people together when there is a common global problem and having this as an annual exercise is probably not
such a bad idea rather than responding ad hoc as conditions warrant. i think a regular meeting is neither problem nor solution. it is what is between. you see a problem. you try figure out what solutions. it is not the solution. peter: but what we have ended up with, all fair and good. we have 10,000 people involved in the summit. many of them politicians. many of them journalists. 20,000 police. somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 demonstrators. all of this in the heart of hamburg. it is madness. rwin: it is not a recipe for the agora of informed debate on all sides. you're going to be having a lot
of different fora where the debates will be taking place. i think it does help as long as things remain non-violent so that does not become the side show that distracts everybody. that principled protests on issues that are not on the agenda and also the debate about who should be there when and under what circumstances all are perfectly legitimate ways of conducting international business. but to have a core of players ready to -- that are maybe thinking of the financial crisis, too big to fail, playing whose cooperation is absolutely essential, if you need their cooperation, you have to include them from the very beginning. peter: ok. mekonnen mesghena, i'm interested in what you have to say. hamburg's mayor, he said this is
not the time for a breakdown on dialogue on crucial issues on things like war, persecution, climate change and fair trade. his message is we have to keep channels of dialogue open. do you agree? mekonnen: definitely. we need to keep channels of dialogue. either you're part of the dialogue or you will be on the menu. that is what happens. peter: y you are part of the dialogue or you are on the menu. that sounds frightening. mekonnen: that's what happens when you look at the african continent, which is rightly on the agenda of the debate and most of the issues on the agenda are correct. most probably too many agendas, too many topics, i'm not quite sure if it is to tackle all of the issues.
who is affected by those issues and -- pepeter: you're talking specifically about africa. your quote at the top of the how. 1.2 billion people at the show. one representative at the table. just one. that makes you angry. mekonnen: a number of countries might be quite relevant like nigeria or algeria, ethiopia, kenya. a huge number of population but also relevant from the perspective of climate, producing refugees and corruption and a number of issues that need to be tackled and discussed with these countries and all of these countries are absent. they are not invited. so yes, we need channels of dialogue. yes, we need a forum, but who is sitting at the table? that is the issue. peter: dagmar, in the past, there has been a lot of criticism of the g-20, that it
hasn't had real leadership or a real convincing agenda, especially on the kind of issues you have already mentioned. angela merkel seems to be the feeling that we have is angela merkel wants to change that and give this gathering leadership and an agenda. that's ambitious. is she going to succeed? dagmar: she is going to susucce, except donalald trump. it just depends on his mood if anything comes out of it or not. it has nothing to do with any basis of discussion. that of course makes it a wild card which cannot be calculated at all. that makes it very difficult and actually i would not wish the nigerian president who is not governing now because his vice president had to take over, to sit at the same table with donald trump and arguing with issues about africa which he never even knew exactly where it is. this is a leader which really makes it difficult to make discussions work. but with the others, it is possible. with the others, there is a dialogue ongoing and of course
with parts of the society in the u.s., the dialogue is ongoing too. the point is that the g-20 summits are a culmination point in which civil society, science and business, whatever have, a dialogue ongoing in 20 major countries with very different cultures. and they all had to learn to really find a way to talk to each other and find out what their issues are. and that actually is useful. if the outcome of the summit will be useful, we will see. most of the summit decisions had no real implementation phase. that might not be the main issue. maybe the main issue is that leaders have to talk about climate change although they normally don't. at u.n. summits, they might not join. mekonnen: i have a lot of
sympathy toward what you're saying. what kind of government is going to sit at the table, but the reality is we should be very careful in not being -- of having a double standard because we cannot choose who is sitting at the table at the end of the day. we have a number of autocrats who are part of the g-20, so yes, definitely. good governance is extremely important. in africa, it lacks a lot of good governance, but we cannot exclude them because there are autocrats, otherwise we need to exclude a number of those participants of g-20 as well. irwin: i think we want to eparate the g-20 as an institution of recurring getting together and any particular meeting, with this one, you brought up the elephant in the room. donald trump. we have a major shift we can see towards protectionism as a major shock threatening the world
global trading system. which would be a great possibility of opportunity for african development among other things. a trade war would do us no good. and then we had basically a consensus on climate at a global level that is now being challenged too. i just simply look, when you have those two major threats to the global standards, that other issues that would be on the agenda under normal times fall down. now what do you do in such circumstances? sometimes you kick a can down the road. and i suspect this is going to be as much of what angela merkel and other people are going to try to do. essentially an empty g-20 is not the worst thing that could happen.
launching the first shot in a trade war would be something that w would be very bad coming out of this. peter: before we proceed, i would like to come back to the protests. there are a lot of them in hamburg. 100,000-200,000. we really don't knknow. let's just listen to what some of them have been saying. >> i thihink in hamburg, we have to show that politics should focus on peace and more fairnens n world trade. >> the g-20 states are causing trououble around the world.. ththey are the wororld's biggest weapons manufacturers. wewe are dead set t against vive these states repepresent. >> the politicians' agagenda is totoweak. ththey are going to make lotot empty y promises and they are e gogoing to use a all of the opo hat are available. peter: dagmar delmer, on the one hand, we have 20,000 police. we have barbed wire fences. on the other hand, we have
protest groups and have written down what their slogans are. g-20, not welcome, hamburg shows attitude or welcome to hell. who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? dagmar: that is really hard to tell. actually it is almost impossible to separate them from each other because, of course, they lift from each other too. it is hard to say. i think the best guys were those who had the demonstration last weekend. that's about it. they brought up their topics. it was a nice demonstration. all the other demonstrations will not be so nice. i'm quite sure about that. peter: are you surprised about the sheer number of protesters that are turning out here? irwin: i think they are becoming events of a woodstock nature. the grateful dead, the deadheads showing up and going from protest to protest. there is a core that this is the political performance that they want.
i don't know if that brings us very close to an informed debate, an important debate to get things on the agenda. but if anyone is going to get it right, i certainly hope germany is able to show the right amount of tolerance for people when they are going and skirting the edges of public order. peter: ok. mekonnen: a mixture of everything, ok. we had a number of g 10's and g-20 summits in canada and elsewhere with massive protests, in italy, i remember. i think a number of people have a clear agenda. a political jeopardy. -- agenda. a legitimate political agenda. alternative summits. you have people who see these summits as an event to demonstrate their discontent with the state, with police, etc., etc. it is a mixture. it is very hard to find a clear
position towards the whole culture of protests. but i think the majority of the people have a legitimate issue because they are not satisfied. but the way the summit goes so far, not only this one, but also the past summits. peter: for angela merkel, one item on which success at the hamburg summit will hinge on what is called the compact for africa. it is also being labeled the merkel plan by some african leaders. the idea is that a sum of 300 million euros is supposed to go to reform or into african states, so-called reform champions in order to help them attract international investments. what would you say? tell us more about this plan for africa. this compact with africa. what does it amount to? it is being talked up but it is very difficult to pin down. mekonnen: i'm glad that angela merkel put africa on the agenda.
by the way, also obama put it and what happened? nothing. we had a number of initiatives which put africa on the focus of summits. unfortunately with no results. i'm glad it happens. basically we have to be very frank and open that migration is one of those driving issues. why angela merkel and the european union is also interested in finding solutions in africa in order to keep refugees and immigrants away. peter: they say it is a cynical attempt to keep as many as 100 million africans in the foreseeable future, keep them away from europe. mekonnen: yes, we should be very pen in that motif. germany is interested in at least keeping the number of refugees and immigrants lower, it is a legitimate interest.
the issue is the plan for what? we are planning on economic and trade investment climate, primarily for what? for whom? is that for the economy? for the industry here? is that for the benefit of the majority of africans? what is the perspective for people and for development? which means trade and economy is not equal to development. peter: this is the point that you were making at the top of the show in your quote. dagmar: i make another example that shows what i mean. in paris, we had an initiative for renewable energies which should be invested in africa. a free billion euro. now the government who gave 2 billion has no idea where the money goes. they just had to answer questions of the green party and they have no idea how the program works.
that is exactly how it normally goes. you put something up. and yes, you always say private money needs to go in because there is not enough public money to change the course. of course that is true. and then the private money goes in or does not go in because the private companies don't feel safe. and as long as they don't feel safe because of institutional mess in many countries, they just don't go there. that means that only countries with some kind of institutions qualify for that compact for africa. that is not the countries most in need, in fact. mekonnen: of course 300 million euros, it sounds quite high number. peter: it is an awful lot of money. mekonnen: it is a high number, but look at what refugees and immigrants really invest in those countries without being
visible to any of the -- this is simply a peanut towards what really people who are from africa, who came as refugees, as immigrants are exactly reinvesting in those countries and societies. peter: how worried are you that it seems to be like a reward scheme for good behavior for africans, almost pats on the head for getting it right. you have used the c word already, colonialism. does it smack of neo colonialism? mekonnen: there is a test of neo colonialism. when you draft, when you design a kind of policy and development without having the counterparts on your table. it reminds me of a conference that was very unfamous some centuries ago. i don't want to compare that.
i know that there are clear reasons to put that agenda but on the other side, having a preconference where african leaders and where african countries were presented but not other core summit. this is not a correct way. having a preliminary conference with african leaders is fine, but it should be something like work out your position and agenda and come and join us and bring your issues and let's tackle those issues. that's not happening. peter: i'll bring you in in just a second. i want to move to another key issue with the hamburg summit. climate change. angela merkel wants to make progress on climate change on combating global warming. the problem is we have heard it already. donald trump is going to be in the room. what influence is that going to have? let's just refresh our memories about how he shunned the paris agreement not too long ago. just a couple of weeks ago eally. presesident trumump: as presesii have one obligatioion, and that
obligatition is to thehe americ people. the paris accord would undermine our economy.y. hamstring our workers. weaken our sovereignty and pose unacceptable legal risks a and t us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world. it is time to exit the paris ccord. peter: professor collier, angela merkel has a problem. she wants to get the g-20 members to recommit to the paris commitment explicitly here in hamburg, but she has donald trump in the room. as we said. how does she manage that situation? irwin: how does she square the circle? direct confrontation here is probably not the thing to do. it will just provoke more of the same. like i said, i think here, establishing principles, speaking to the principles,
getting enough of the other leaders on record saying that this is here. t is not going away. and perhaps thinking of in a slightly different, a much different context, stalin did say the hitlers come and go. the german people remain. i think having a longer term perspective is what angela merkel is showing here. trump's days are limited. there is hope for the climate change. it simply means everybody has to continue supporting that in any local way they can, but to expect to have leverage over the united states under the present circumstances is simply unrealistic. peter: dagmar delmer, what do you say? agmar: i see it very similar but i think it might be possible to put in some issues that combat climate change without
calling that. the man doesn't read, so maybe he will in the end find it ok to say a bit more efficiency, why not? and actually he cannot really change the tide. renewable energies are much cheaper than coal and he cannot really subsidize against that. he can try, but then his small state he wants will probably be bankrupt very fast. peter: how to deal with donald trump? mekonnen: the partner of german politics is the american people. so the american economy and that's definitely the president. it is absolutely true that we need to think in longer terms. if there is any alternative to what is on the agenda of technology, tech no logical advance, etc., the u.s. economy will be highly engaged and
interested in investing. yes, there is a kind of disruption at this time because you need the u.s. government and the u.s. president in order to have a global dialogue and agenda. if there is this deception for the next four years, hopefully not longer than four years, we should think in other temperatures, but especially also look into partnerships within the u.s. economy and within the u.s. people. peter: ok. we're running out of time i'm afraid. i would like to give each of you a half a minute, a minute tops to just -- a lot of the protesters are calling for different kind of globalization. define what that different kind of globalization could look like. ekonnen: i think globalization has helped to fight poverty on one hand, but on the other side, it has been also gapping the difference between the rich and the poor.
we need globalization of human rights and of good governance and democracy which are clear fundamentals and basis for development and economic prosperity. peter: ok. irwin collier? irwin: i think i'm going to go along very similar. the harmonization is always looked at this terms of financial markets, safety, labor markets but a harmonization of political standards that we all hold ourselves to report to. i think that is the kind of globalization i would like to see. peter: dagmar? dagmar: globalization of the core, human rights. at least the basic human rights. i think that is not too much to ask for. peter: when we come back to the question that we began the show with, the summit, the g-20 summit in hamburg. is it going to be -- is it a problem or is it a solution? what would you say, dagmar?
dagmar: actually it is both. that is how politics are. peter: i thought you were going to say that. mekonnen? mekonnen: in fact, there are very relevant stake holders on the table. we need them in order to move the agenda and also to make change. at the same time, they are of course blocking a lot of developments because they are driven by the interests, by the national interests. it is not only donald trump who says america first, but everybody is thinking beat china or russia or germany even, driven by their own interests. irwin: i think europe has an incredible opportunity here to establish moral leadership. peter: ok. we're going to have to leave it there. thank you very all three of you for joining me on "quadriga" and thank you for joining me too. if you enjoyed the show as much as i have, come back next week. until then, bye-bye.
>> where do we come from? where are we going? and what i is the meang of it ? this week, "global 3000" turns to some fundamental questions. we asked some people in berlin where they find that meaning. >> that's a very hard question to answer. i don't know, maybe i'll be easy and just say beer and fun?